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Dark Energy, Dark Matter - Enigmas for Physicists and Cosmologists
Posted: 27 November 2007 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I have heard the two-dimensional balloon analogy before. But I have never thought of the balloon’s center being compared to our “center” in a fourth dimension. It makes sense. Very interesting, Doug.

dougsmith - 27 November 2007 08:17 AM

The superclusters are organized in larger filamental structures.

What does a “filamental structure” mean? :red: An evenly spaced network?

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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George - 27 November 2007 08:35 AM

What does a “filamental structure” mean? :red: An evenly spaced network?

Check out the Wiki page on galactic filaments and some pictures of these structures.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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George - 27 November 2007 08:35 AM

What does a “filamental structure” mean? :red: An evenly spaced network?

http://images.google.ch/images?hl=de&q=universe+filaments&btnG=Bilder-Suche&gbv=2

GdB

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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kkwan - 27 November 2007 07:09 AM

What is philosophy?

You apparently mean that question rhetorically because you provide what you see as something of an answer, which is a pasting of dictionary style definitions.  These definitions don’t address the question of what constitutes an adequate approach to philosophical questions.  They confuse it.  Without such a clarification, the term “philosophy” means nothing more than “deipnosophy,” or kitchen chatter.  This is quite a slight toward what philosophers refer to as philosophy.  More importantly, these definitions do not address the epistemological framework that I was stating to be necessary to adequately tackle philosophical questions.  This is what I was pointing out in my precious response to your post.

Certain conditions of method are necessary in order to tackle any other area of philosophy, or science for that matter.  Epistemology is a subset of philosophy that examines these conditions and helps allow us to establish such a method.  But philosophy is not just speculating any more so than physics is.  Both philosophy and physics involve speculation, but they also involve much more.

Proposing reasonable positions in philosophy is therefore a difficult task.

I disagree.  Unless you are willing to admit that the study of physics is also an equally difficult task.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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kkwan - 27 November 2007 07:33 AM

Hmm… as erasmusinfinity wrote, it is interesting and important, but not in the everyday human worldy sense. It is important to find out why 96% of the universe is made of unknown DM/DE. Take away the 96% and the 4% collapses. Is the 96% not important?

Nobody can throw science away. What I am saying is science cannot as yet understand the nature of DM/DE. Perhaps, a paradigm shift or a new theory is necessary. Who cares whether any politician will understand it?

Just looked up what you say in the ‘God of the Gaps’ thread in Philosophy:

kkwan - 18 November 2007 06:05 PM

God, the creator or God of the Gaps has no meaning in Chinese Taoist philosophy.
The concept of Tao is not a deity. It exists, but is unknowable, like dark energy and
dark matter which makes up 96% the universe. It is “an inexhaustible nothingness”
like vacuum energy. We can only see and measure its manifestations as matter/energy.

I wondering what you want to say: it seems to me that you are trying to get some religious message out of DM/DE, as if you expect that we will soon have a ‘religious paradigm shift’ in physics and astronomy.

I agree that for who is interested in physics and astronomy, we are living in great times. But I think you want to say more than that, don’t you?

GdB

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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GdB - 27 November 2007 09:14 AM

http://images.google.ch/images?hl=de&q=universe+filaments&btnG=Bilder-Suche&gbv=2

GdB

Excellent! And in German too!

:lol:

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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dougsmith - 27 November 2007 09:26 AM

Excellent! And in German too!

:lol:

Ups! Did not realise that! But he, filament is Filament in german, and universe is Universum. Not too difficult, is it?

And at least you recognised it is german…

Will try an english speaking Google next time…  :red:

GdB

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Hey, no worries. I like the international flavor.  :grin:

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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dougsmith - 27 November 2007 09:35 AM

Hey, no worries. I like the international flavor.  :grin:

Zanks.

BTW See what you mean: El sueño de la razón produce monstruos…

[ Edited: 27 November 2007 09:46 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 27 November 2007 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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GdB - 27 November 2007 09:14 AM
George - 27 November 2007 08:35 AM

What does a “filamental structure” mean? :red: An evenly spaced network?

http://images.google.ch/images?hl=de&q=universe+filaments&btnG=Bilder-Suche&gbv=2

GdB

شكرا :grin:

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Posted: 01 December 2007 10:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 27 November 2007 09:25 AM
kkwan - 27 November 2007 07:09 AM

What is philosophy?

You apparently mean that question rhetorically because you provide what you see as something of an answer, which is a pasting of dictionary style definitions.  These definitions don’t address the question of what constitutes an adequate approach to philosophical questions.  They confuse it.  Without such a clarification, the term “philosophy” means nothing more than “deipnosophy,” or kitchen chatter.  This is quite a slight toward what philosophers refer to as philosophy.  More importantly, these definitions do not address the epistemological framework that I was stating to be necessary to adequately tackle philosophical questions.  This is what I was pointing out in my precious response to your post.

Certain conditions of method are necessary in order to tackle any other area of philosophy, or science for that matter.  Epistemology is a subset of philosophy that examines these conditions and helps allow us to establish such a method.  But philosophy is not just speculating any more so than physics is.  Both philosophy and physics involve speculation, but they also involve much more.

Proposing reasonable positions in philosophy is therefore a difficult task.

I disagree.  Unless you are willing to admit that the study of physics is also an equally difficult task.

I refer you to this thought provoking article by Mary Midgley, the British moral philosopher:

http://www.royalinstitutephilosophy.org/think/article.php?num=6

Are you quite real? Are you (that is) at least as real as the parts that you are composed of - your cells, your genes, your molecules and electrons and quarks and the notions that are passing through your mind? Or are they more real than you?

This may seem an odd kind of question. But it is one that we have to ask when wise persons suddenly tell us that something that we take to be real is actually not real, or is less real than something else. Metaphysicians notoriously do talk like this. Sometimes, for instance, they have said that the whole physical world is unreal compared with the inner life. Sometimes they say that the physical world is the only reality. And these doctrines are not just inert speculative theories. They always carry implications for the way we ought to live.

This kind of talk often has a perfectly sensible meaning, but, to understand it, we always have to ask just what the speakers mean by reality, because it may not be quite what we mean by it in ordinary life. Often it turns out that they mean something much more like importance. I want to ask here how this kind of language is being used today when scientifically-minded people tell us that parts are more real than the wholes that they belong to. This view is sometimes called reductionism, meaning that the wholes can be reduced, without loss, to the sum of their parts. It is a striking contemporary piece of metaphysics and I think we need to understand it. If it is taken literally, it can seem to mean that our everyday experience is simply misleading and ought to be replaced by something discovered through a microscope. Or again, if we are talking about human societies, people may say that `there is no such thing as society’, meaning that only the individuals who compose it are real and the bonds between them are illusory.

This kind of reductionist approach is not a new idea in philosophy. It was invented by Atomist philosophers in ancient Greece. But - as sometimes happens to such notions - it has lately been rediscovered and is now presented, not as philosophy but as a bold new piece of scientific speculation.

This shift in the concept of scientific explanation is, however, quite hard to grasp. The Greeks found it particularly hard to grasp because they had developed mathematics in a way that allowed them to understand static situations before developing the biological concepts that would have helped them to make sense of change in the living world around them. (Aristotle tried to remedy this, but by his time the trouble had gone too deep). And today the point has certainly not been widely understood. The hope of finding of a universal, quasi-magical Key to All The Mysteries is not readily abandoned. The general public certainly still takes that to be the business of physicists, as becomes clear whenever the discovery of one more particle is greeted by headlines saying ‘Secret of the Universe Revealed At Last’. And some physicists, by greeting these moments with reverent talk about the mind of God, are happy still to confirm this impression.

All this atomistic thinking produces strange paradoxes if one tries to carry it through consistently. In fact it is scarcely possible to fit together coherently the various kinds of atomism which have been introduced into our thinking at different organisational levels. If organisms are semi-illusory in relation to genes, are genes also semi-illusory in relation to atoms and quarks? Is nothing actually real except quarks - or whatever particles smaller than quarks the next revolution in physics may bring us? What would that proposition about semi-illusoriness mean?

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Posted: 01 December 2007 11:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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GdB - 27 November 2007 09:25 AM

Just looked up what you say in the ‘God of the Gaps’ thread in Philosophy:

kkwan - 18 November 2007 06:05 PM

God, the creator or God of the Gaps has no meaning in Chinese Taoist philosophy.The concept of Tao is not a deity. It exists, but is unknowable, like dark energy and dark matter which makes up 96% the universe. It is “an inexhaustible nothingness” like vacuum energy. We can only see and measure its manifestations as matter/energy.

I wondering what you want to say: it seems to me that you are trying to get some religious message out of DM/DE, as if you expect that we will soon have a ‘religious paradigm shift’ in physics and astronomy.

I agree that for who is interested in physics and astronomy, we are living in great times. But I think you want to say more than that, don’t you?

I simply noted parallels in Chinese Taoist philosophy of the concept of the Tao and its manisfestation of yin/yang to DM/DE and matter/energy in the universe. Taoist philosophy is NOT a religion. However, taoism can be viewed as a religion because the subject matter of religion and philosophy overlap.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/taoism/#Important

This somewhat arbitrary conceptual legislation leaves ample ambiguity to sort out in interpretation. The two texts, in both style in content, invite lines of elaboration that are congenial to the religious impulse and those that are more philosophical. That is partly because the subject matter of religion and philosophy overlap. We distinguish philosophy from religion better by pointing to philosophy’s disciplinary commitment to reflectively warranted norms guiding its theorizing and its critical assessment of theories. The norms themselves are subject to discursive, norm guided reflection and revision—which gives philosophy the familiar open, “meta” character that underwrites its image as “thinking about thinking.” Relatively religious approaches (even within philosophy) rely on appeals to “higher” transcendent or hyper-human perspectives to guide thinking. This disciplinary difference in the approach to areas of overlap, e.g., metaphysics and ethics, emerges from philosophy’s relatively greater focus on logic and epistemology.

Dao, by contrast, was the center of Chinese philosophical discussion. It occupies the position at the center of thought that in Western philosophy is filled by terms like ‘being’ or ‘truth’. The centrality tempts interpreters to identify dao with the central concepts of the Western philosophical agenda, but that is to lose the important difference between the two traditions. Metaphysics and epistemology dominated early Western philosophy while ethics, politics and philosophy of education/psychology dominated Chinese thought. Although it’s insightful to say humans live in dao as fish do in water, the insight is lost if we simply treat dao as being or some pantheistic spiritual realm. Dao remains essentially a concept of guidance, a prescriptive or normative term. In the late Classical period, dao paired with de virtuosity to form the Chinese term for ‘ethics’ “dao-de.” Dao is the pivot of Chinese philosophy — but it still translates as ‘way’, not ‘being’.

Ancient Chinese thinkers discussed mainly three parts of dao: human (or social) dao, tian natural dao, and great dao. When I instruct you to put your hand on your partner’s head, I am delivering some human dao. Human dao is typically enshrined in a language—which may include the language of planning. Human daos are normative space-time structures—recommended possible histories. Natural dao (often translated heavenly dao) is akin to what we would consider the constancies of science. It is the ways things reliably (constantly) have happened and will happen. Great dao refers to the entire actual history of everything — whatever has happened, is happening or actually will happen in the universe constitutes the great dao.

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Posted: 02 December 2007 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Taoism is very interesting to study, but it has nothing whatever to do with physics or cosmology.

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Posted: 02 December 2007 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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I agree with Doug here.  I also find taosim to be quite interesting, but I don’t see it as having a substantive role in physics or cosmology.

It may be true that the idea of a “god of the gaps” has no meaning in Chinese taoist philosophy.  But, modern taoism can sometimes take on something of an equivalent “tao of the gaps” function, based on the same logical error as the “god of the gaps” fallacy.  Namely, that things that science and reason have not yet revealed to be known about the physical universe are simply not known.  Again, to be “not known” means that we don’t know them.  Such a thing can not legitimately be said to be known through some method that is external to science and reason, such as a god or an undefinable and ineffable essence such as “the tao.”

“Not known” means, absolutely and in no uncertain terms, “not known.”

That being said, I won’t deny the notion that certain taoist principles, such as wu & wei for example, did once have something of a scientific function.  That is, as a framework for thought that encouraged an organizational approach to understanding and certain aspects of logic.  An that these further lead toward classification of matter into “elements,” distinction of certain focal points of “energy” within and outside the body, etc.  Many of these sorts of things could be rightly regarded as monoliths in the evolution of reason.  But, much is also outdated in our time.

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Posted: 03 December 2007 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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dougsmith - 02 December 2007 08:03 AM

Taoism is very interesting to study, but it has nothing whatever to do with physics or cosmology.

I think Taoism, as a philosophy, has important insights to contribute to physics and cosmology in elucidating the enigmas of DM/DE, the nature of the universe, human psychology and reality.

http://www.taoism.net/articles/mason/cosmo.htm

Taoism teaches that nature itself is cyclical: there is no starting point, and no ending point. It’s just like a circle. This is what creates the paradox in logic: you can answer question after question until you find yourself back to your original question. That’s because you’ve gone around the circle and found yourself back to the beginning.

Of course it won’t make sense to the conscious brain, because the entire reason for Taoist writing is to transcend the conscious brain and go deeper. You see, the conscious brain is only a recent (and in fact relatively unsophisticated) development in evolution. There is a whole other, highly unexplored, part of the biology that developed right from the beginning, just by the very nature of its inseparability from the universe around it. It is by this that beings operated before the development of the conscious brain, and it is this which Taoists are trying to tap into.

Taoists purposely say things that are paradoxical and downright confusing, but it only seems that way when you’re analyzing the words with logic. If you understand the words at a deeper level, that of your intuition, or whatever else you might want to call it, it can be very profound. Entire philosophies of life can be derived from just a few single words. But insist on analyzing, and it will seem like nonsense.

Taoism starts with a very basic premise, which I already mentioned: that of cyclical growth. Nothing in the universe goes in a straight line, but in circles. If you nail down a starting point, you have trouble finding the ending point. Likewise, if you nail down an ending point, you have trouble finding the starting point. That is the Way the universe works. So what created the universe? What existed before the universe existed? The only thing that could possibly exist is the Way itself.

To nail down a starting point is to limit yourself. To be finite, something must have a starting point. With no starting point, you have infinity. Since you are nothing more than a piece of the universe, and the universe is nothing more than a piece of the Way, and the Way is infinite, not being a piece of anything, that means that you are intimately connected with something infinite! There is no limit except for that which you impose on yourself by seeing yourself as separate and distinct from the Way, the beautiful, yet deceiving, talent of the conscious brain.

The Tao is infinite, eternal. Why is it eternal? It was never born; thus it can never die. Why is it infinite? It has no desires for itself; thus it is present for all beings. The Master stays behind; that is why she is ahead. She is detached from all things; that is why she is one with them. Because she has let go of herself, she is perfectly fulfilled. Tao Te Ching - Chapter 7

Consider this paradox in mathematics:

1,2,3,4,5….........infinity

1,3,5,7,9….........infinity

2,4,6,8,10….......infinity

Using one to one correspondence, therefore there are the same number of even/odd numbers as the natural numbers. This is absurd.  Logic has failed when it comes to infinity.

Russell’s paradox and the liar’s paradox also points to flaws in logic.

Here is Russell’s article on vagueness:

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Russell/vagueness/

The law of excluded middle is true when precise symbols are employed, but it is not true when symbols are vague, as, in fact, all symbols are.

There remains a more abstract class of words: first, words which apply to all parts of time and space, such as “matter” or “causality”; secondly, the words of pure logic. I shall leave out of discussion the first class of words, since all of them raise great difficulties, and I can scarcely imagine a human being who would deny that they are all more or less vague. I come therefore to the words of pure logic, words such as “or” and “not”. Are these words also vague or have they a precise meaning?

Words such as “or” and “not” might seem, at first sight, to have a perfectly precise meaning: “p or q” is true when p is true, when q is true, and false when both are false. But the trouble is that this involves the notions of “true” and “false”; and it will be found, I think, that all the concepts of logic involve these notions, directly or indirectly. Now “true” and “false” can only have a precise meaning when the symbols employed—- words, perceptions, images, or what not—- are themselves precise. We have seen that, in practice, this is not the case. It follows that every proposition that can be framed in practice has a certain degree of vagueness; that is to say, there is not one definite fact necessary and sufficient for its truth, but a certain region of possible facts, any one of which would make it true.

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